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Volume 4, Number 2 -- January 16, 2007

Unisys Broadens Oasis Open Source Software Stacks for Linux

Published: January 16, 2007

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Server maker Unisys wants a bigger piece of the action in the open source software game and also wants to tap into the move by some companies away from mainframe and Unix servers and toward Linux platforms. Which is why the company will today expand its Open and Secure Integrated Solutions, or Oasis, product line.

Back in June 2006, Unisys created a set of bundled software and services stacks based on popular open source software for its ES3000 midrange and ES7000 high-end servers. The stacks, collectively called the Oasis, included Linux, JBoss middleware (now part of Red Hat), a tuned-up version of Sun Microsystems' own HotSpot Java virtual machine tricked out for the ES7000 architecture, and MySQL and PostgreSQL relational databases. Unisys had also created a security program for J2EE application servers called Application Defender, which is a real-time scanner that watched Java code and looks for the bad things that hackers do to Java applications and automatically plugs security holes in working Java code at runtime, without any modification to the Java code.

With the Oasis packaging, Unisys itself provides the support and patch management, which has one of the largest IT services organizations in the world and a deep history in enterprise-class computing. This means that you pay Unisys instead of JBoss, MySQL, or PostgreSQL, which all have partnerships with Unisys.

Collectively, these products were called Oasis 1.0. And when these products were launched last summer, I said it would not take long before Oracle's 10g database would be rolled into the Oasis offering. I also said that, as unlikely as it sounds, Unisys could put together an offering of Microsoft operating system and middleware software like the Oasis stack, with lots of Unisys goodies thrown in. (Perhaps Unisys could call such an offering DESERT, short for Distributed Enterprise Software Earning Ridiculous Turnover or something like that. . . .) The first comes to pass--more or less--with Oasis 2.0, but the latter is probably not going to happen because that would step on Microsoft's own toes too much.

According to Ali Shadman, vice president and general manager of open source solutions for the Systems and Technology group at Unisys, the Oasis 2.0 suites have a number of tweaks--including prices that Unisys is willing to talk about. Application Defender has been updated to detect and prevent 20 of the most common attacks on Java middleware and applications, including context hijacking and SQL injection.

The suite now includes a new feature called Application Deployer, which allows the "hot deployment" of Java applications without having to take down an application server or its JVMs. If programmers create and test a new set of Java code that is running in product, Application Deployer will inject that code into the Java software infrastructure without disrupting end users; when they reboot their applications, they will see the new code. Unisys is also partnering with GroundWorks to weave its open source Nagios system management tool into the Oasis stack. Unisys partnered with GroundWorks last fall so it could OEM the Nagios technology.

The database suite that is part of the Oasis offering is the same with MySQL and PostgreSQL, but Unisys has partnered with Oracle to create a suite called Oasis Oracle Grid Accelerator, which is a standard implementation of Oracle 10g Real Application Clusters on a Linux platform--either Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 or Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10--that has been configured on an ES7000 server to allow for migration from Unix platforms running Oracle 7, 8, or 9 databases. Shadman says that Unisys has enough expertise in this area to migrate even the largest Oracle databases running on Unix boxes to a collection of ES7000s running Linux and Oracle 10g RAC. This offering also includes storage arrays from EMC, which is the preferred storage partner for Unisys.

"In certain cases, for large database, the large node scenario that we can deliver with the ES7000s has big performance benefits," explains Shadman. "Moreover, because the ES7000 can be broken down into smaller virtual nodes, customers can experiment and find the right node structure and node size for their databases and applications." And, over time, they can change them, too.

In a related Oasis service offering called Enterprise Asset Modernization, Unisys has put together a stack of software, including COBOL and CICS-like transaction monitors from Micro Focus and the 10g database and Fusion middleware from Oracle to create a Linux-ES7000 platform that is suitable for hosting mainframe applications--or even mainframe applications that have been ported already to Unix platforms and rehosted there. A key part of this offering, says Shadman, is an application discovery tool created by Unisys that can probe mainframe applications and see what code is actually being used by a company on its mainframes and then construct a workflow model of those applications, so only the pieces of code that need to be rehosted are moved over. If customers are using Adabas or IMS database, Unisys also knows how to port the applications that use these databases over to Java applications accessing Oracle databases.

Finally, Unisys will also announce a separate Unix-to-Linux migration Oasis bundle of software and services for customers who want to move workloads other than Oracle databases from RISC/Unix servers to ES7000 servers running Linux. Unisys is targeting companies running AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, and UnixWare and moving them over to RHEL 4 or SUSE 10. Shadman says that there is a pick up in demand for customers who want to move from UnixWare to Linux, which is why UnixWare is part of the Oasis migration offering.

Unisys is also working on a set of offerings to help Novell consolidate and migrate NetWare servers onto ES7000s onto Open Enterprise Server, which puts NetWare services atop the SUSE Linux kernel.

This time around, Unisys is talking about pricing--at least a little bit--for the basic Oasis suites. Shadman says that a basic Oasis stack with Linux and the PostgreSQL database will cost $14,000 on an eight-socket ES7000 server, with the price rising up to around $27,000 for licenses and support on the same box including a broader set of JBoss middleware, MySQL database, and Java tweaks.


RELATED STORIES

Unisys Tools Migrate WebLogic/Unix Stack to JBoss/Linux

Unisys Peddles Open Source Stacks with Oasis Effort



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